Pre-report notes, which really need a catchy name. Protes?
– In case you missed last week’s announcement, the UPROXX™ network has a brand new social system for comments, so register and leave a comment let us know what you thought of the show and report.
– Speaking of leaving comments, on Friday we’re having a WWE Vengeance predictions party where you’ve got a chance to win a $250 prize by doing so, so register now, get in the swing of how commenting works and check back nonstop for the rest of your life.
– Picture of The Chickbusters in Mexico loosely related. Neither of them show up on Raw (or Smackdown), but at least Kaitlyn makes an appearance to wrestle on NXT. She faces Maxine, and hopefully makes fun of Maxine’s fish lips despite also having big lips. Yes, if you click that picture, it gets bigger.
– Raw is coming to Austin, Texas, next week for the post-Vengeance Raw, so I’m not sure yet if I’m doing Best and Worst for the live experience or the TV version. What do you think?
Please click through to enjoy The Best And Worst Of WWE’s Mexico City Raw. Yeah, it’s a little racist.
Worst: The Fatal Flaw Of This Main Event
Last week I briefly touched on the absurdist, cyclical nature of Jim Ross being humiliated and fired from WWE, brought back and put into a position of reverence, then immediately humiliated and fired again. That never rang more truly than during last night, when a shamed-in-front-of-his-wife this-is-a-shoot-everybody Ross returned after about 40 minutes of unemployment to somehow team with the Best Guy In The Company against the wormy announcer they hate and a guy who runs away when too much wrestling happens.
The worst part of this, though, is that they brought him back here and spent ten minutes setting up a Jim Ross versus Michael Cole showdown in a country where Jim Ross and Michael Cole aren’t WWE’s announcers. Did WWE forget that the Spanish announce team weren’t just guys who chill at a Jakks Pacific collapsible table and actually broadcast the shows in Spanish? If Marcelo Rodriguez and Carlos Cabrera were involved in a passive-aggressive blood feud where yelling at each other about stupid sh*t was the most important thing, yeah, team one of them with John Cena. Hell, team them up with Amazing Red for all I care. But consider before you build a show around a match and series of moments that the 14,000 people you’re in front of didn’t grow up with Gorilla Monsoon, they grew up with Monzón Del Gorila, and to them Jim Ross is just a weird looking old man who keeps getting sh*t-canned.
One of my least favorite things about WWE being a globetrotting international phenomenon is that they make absolutely no effort to absorb the culture and uniqueness of where they are. Look at that set. Remember when Michael Scott asked the Dunder Mifflin Party Planning Committee to throw Oscar a Mexican-themed fiesta with firecrackers and a donkey? One of the coolest aspects of lucha libre that never gets talked about is the ambiance — yeah, the flashy guys in masks doing somersaults and arm drags is fantastic, but so is the airhorn, and so is the big Corona logo in the middle of the ring, and so are the ring girls. Doc Wagner is a chubby dude in a camo mask who enters with flames and prostitutes to Bon Jovi’s “Bad Medicine”. If you don’t think that’d be better way to use 40 seconds of your show than Jack Swagger losing to a jumping dick press, I don’t know what to tell you.
These guys can set up a ring in a subway station and make it play like an issue of the f**king Infinity Gauntlet, why not integrate some of that into your show instead of filming a mariachi band in your parking lot for 20 seconds and calling it “Mexico”? Clip-art Mexican flags on a video screen is literally the laziest thing you can do, and I know you’re basically the world’s most well-traveled prejudiced millionaires, but I hope even you didn’t choose “lazy” as the theme for the Mexico show.
Worst: I Feel Like I’m Already Playing WWE ’12
A sad but true confession: I missed most of this match. That’s a terrible sign, isn’t it? I watch this show every week and feel compelled to write about it. The match featured one guy I like and four I love, but I’m so worn down and exhausted watching the same ten guys tread water between three pay-per-views in a month that I’d rather sit in front of my computer spamming the scroll-wheel, looking at nothing, reading nothing, spending 10 minutes making instantaneously forgettable lights flash across my eyes than sit through this. And it’s not even bad. Going back and watching it again, the match was fine. It didn’t accomplish anything, and we’re just building up the same stuff we built on the last show and the show before that without actually building anything on TOP of it all, but yeah, Sheamus is rad and Mark Henry is a beast and Cody Rhodes not wearing kneepads is more entertaining than Bound For Glory. I just… I’m tired of it, and I need Vengeance to come and go so we can get an actual month and a half before show and give me something to look forward to.
I really feel like I’m playing WWE ’12. I’m selecting the six most fun guys to play with, putting them in a tag match and watching it. Not playing it, just watching the A.I. try to figure out when they’re supposed to punch. One guy initiates a tie-up, so the four people on the apron step off onto the floor in stereo and start digging under the ring for weapons. Then they stand still, drop the weapons, slide into the ring and step back onto the apron. The video games are supposed to emulate what happens on the show, guys, not the other way around. I see Miz doing his taunts in the corner and I know in my heart he’s only started doing them to get a signature animation in the game.
Globalization, synergy. Paradigm shifts. Stuff you read on Power Point slides. Remember when these guys bled?
Best: Fire John Morrison, Leave Him In Mexico
I’m going to expand my normal talking point and say that John Morrison deserves a spot in a big league wrestling company, just not the one where he interrupts people and berates them into a match. There’s a reason why nobody talks sh*t about Evan Bourne … he doesn’t DO anything. He falls down beautifully, hits his pretty top rope move, smiles and throws up the V. His music doesn’t kick in when Ted DiBiase is cutting a promo, and he never walks out in a shirt that says EVAN BOURNE – I JUST DID YA DISHES or whatever, and he never tries to insult Maryse by saying she’s got capybara breath. As someone who championed the tartan-and-daisy Hardy Boyz for the longest time, I know the value in a man who can fall down well.
Morrison can fall down well. He can’t convince me that falling down HURT him, but when you’re only out there for a few minutes you don’t always need to. If he sticks around and accepts his position as the guy who gets flung into the air and World’s Strongestly Slammed to death, he could spend the next five years making Mason Ryan look like f**king Terry Gordy, and he could drive a Cadillac and keep Melina vag-deep in Skittles while he was at it.
Best: I Hope He’s Texting Mrs. Baba
The best part of last week’s live Gail Kim shoot interview on iPPV (because I’m the type who would spend 13 dollars to listen to a stranger talk about other strangers) is that John Laurinaitis had a threesome with the Bella Twins, and that that’s why they (collectively, as Mecha-Shiva) won the Diva’s Title. The worst part is that nobody asked her about the first time she had sex with celebrity chef Robert Irvine, and whether or not he put his hands on his hips and stood there disgusted, tossed out all her underwear, showed her how to make her own cheap but comfortable to wear underwear and then reopened to the bedroom for intercourse. Or whether or not he used plastic bins full of lemons and limes to visualize his ability to orgasm.
Anyway, the point here is that John Laurinaitis as a television character is starting to grow on me. He’s a wrestling bad guy you actually hate to see. “X-Pac Heat” became a thing on the Internet several years back and is used to explain a wrestler who you don’t enjoy hating, but one you simply do not want to watch, and would rather stop watching than boo. I feel like in today’s Internet Wrestling Community, where we love every bad guy who is moderately entertaining and are sorta shackled to the reality that we’re going to watch this every week no matter how bad it gets, a wrestler with X-Pac Heat is the only one who truly has heat. The fact that WWE refuses to let their bad guys be formidable and HAVE to portray them as wimpy scaredy-cats doesn’t help. As of now, John Ace isn’t scared of anybody, and his only role on the show is to usurp power, stick these starf**king twins and clandestinely text.
Oh, and if you need a handy power chart for Raw:
* Vince McMahon was CEO and COO, was fired as COO but kept on as CEO and replaced by Triple H
* Triple H became COO and was fired using the same language he’d used to fire Vince, but he’s still COO and was only fired as the general manager of Raw, which he never was
* John Laurinaitis was promoted to interim General Manager of Raw from an Executive Vice President of Talent Relations position you’d think would give him more power, so it’s like getting demoted from the Four Horsemen to Raw. Despite not being COO and having only a small portion of Triple H’s old job in an interim capacity, is more powerful than both COO and CEO
* Teddy Long was promoted from Smackdown General Manager And Janitorial Services Specialist to Smackdown General Manager Who Can Make Impromptu Tag Matches On Raw, but only on the fly, and only if he convinces every player to hold on a minute there.
* The anonymous Raw General Manager computer was promoted from Raw General Manager to inanimate prop
* ECW General Manager Tiffany was promoted from ECW General Manager to Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling commissioner
* Eric Bischoff was promoted from Hulk Hogan’s Friend to Guy Who Hates Hulk Hogan
* TNA President Dixie Carter was promoted to “lady who goes to wrestling shows”
* Daniel Bryan left the Money In The Bank briefcase in a hotel somewhere and we’re just gonna forget about it
Worst: What’s Going On With All This Ass Slapping
I thought that when Kelly Kelly added Dominant Ass Slap to her moveset, she was doing it as sort of a meta statement about her position in the world of wrestling and the attitudes and gestures expected of her, like the Stink Face … but, uh, nope, jump to about 0:55 and watch Natalya shove Eve to the ground and slap her in the ass about half-a-dozen times. The moment gets a small “best” for the production crew jumping over to Kelly, who makes an “oh my god I can’t believe she’s slapping somebody in the ass, who does that, honestly” face that made me laugh, and a huge, difficult-to-express Worst for continuing to revert WWE’s “we wear pants now” Divas division back to its origin of “custom matches” and apartment wrestling. If the match was on Eskimo Tube I wouldn’t be complaining, but this is a part of Raw I’m supposed to enjoy.
There’s really no psychological reason for Natalya to start whomping Eve in the ass cheek, unless that “we’re not jealous of Kelly and Eve, we AREN’T, we REALLY AREN’T” thing and the Beth “we’re just girls, we’re gonna get hurt by the mean boys” thing from a couple of weeks ago are leading to a weird socially abusive thing where Beth and Natalya are gay and are doing this to shame Eve, and because they really want to touch her butt. If Gaspar Noé guest hosts Raw, sure, we can go that way, but until then we need more lucha leg submissions and fewer games of grab-ass.
Best: Michael Cole Is Spreading Gossip
I don’t like Michael Cole or anything he does or says, but I have to admit I laughed when he was trying to trash talk Jim Ross in the most Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue way possible. “Heh, there’s a, there’s a rumor he’s, y’know, smoking some cigarettes!” I think the phrase “smoking some cigarettes” is what did it. He sounded like Lamilton from The Boondocks. King’s silence made it even funnier, when he should’ve just said “OH NO, NOT CIGARETTES” and punched Cole in the dick.
Worst: Eve’s 120° Moonsault
Eve does a moonsault, and because we’re ten years removed from the Maven and Nidia season of Tough Enough where they learned to do moonsaults on like the second day of wrestling school and exposed the fact that falling backwards from a high place isn’t actually athleticism, we’re supposed to think it’s cool.
And yeah, moonsaults can be pretty cool, but what bugs me about Eve’s is that she never commits. She never (and this is going to sound weird, but stay with me) does things the Kenta Kobashi way by really throwing herself backwards and splashing her opponent with her body weight, she does a back handspring so blatantly that her hands almost touch the ground and her feet hit the mat before her body. She’s doing an elaborate version of that Crash Holly splash where he’d jump off the top, land on his feet, walk a few steps and the just hop on a guy. Your butt shouldn’t be higher than your head at the end of a moonsault, and if you’re trying to hurt somebody with your thighs and torso you can’t have your ass in the air at full Girl Push-Up when you connect.
Best: Beth Phoenix, Diva Of Legion Of Doom
They’re about a creative lightyear away from letting Beth and Natalya toss pumpkins off a scaffold so show what’ll happen to Kelly Kelly’s head and even farther from poking out Eve’s eye with a spike, but Beth in Road Warrior shoulder pads (or arm pads, whatever) is a nice step, and at least the sexiest attempt at the look since Alexis Laree.
Cole, it sounds like you’re saying “patted hiney”. Stop saying patented high knee.
Worst: CM Punk, Little Buddy, Defender Of The Status Quo
He smirked when Triple H’s music hit.
The worst aftershock of the Triple and Kevin Nash Summerslam Twist-and-Speech-O-Rama is how hard I’m finding it to like CM Punk. Punk’s been one of my favorite wrestlers for years, dating back to the Wrestlerave Colt Cabana/Lucy Furr days when he’d cut his heart open and bleed it out in an armory hallway because he MEANT it, and because he was the only one that did. I was excited when he and Mickie James tried to debut on Heat (with a guillotine legdrop finisher, of all things) and sad when they didn’t. I’ve gotten pictures with everyone from Ric Flair to Go Shiozaki, and Punk is the only wrestler I’ve met I was too intimidated by to be a mark for. I timidly said “excuse me, Punk” as he was walking down a flight of steps in Chicago, shook his hand, thanked him for everything, and let him go about the business of eating skinless chicken breasts and whatever else gets you to WWE.
I hate CM Punk right now. I never thought I’d type that. I can’t stand Cult of Personality anymore, and every time it plays it reminds me of those ten big paragraphs I wrote about what it meant, and what it was going to mean. Through circumstances I’m nowhere near qualified to explain outside of “none of this is real and I believe what they tell me to believe”, the one guy who spoke up for ME on national television in the face of three men directly responsible for the last 15 years of regressive pro wrestling culture has become the guy who dismisses criticism with a “you’re sheeple who complain about everything” wank and a smiling “these people” speech between commercials. I hate it. I don’t care if he’s telling me I’m a worthless piece of sh*t to my face — he’s done that before, thousands of times, and I’ve loved it. I just don’t like when he really makes me believe it in real life. Right now I believe I’m stupid for watching WWE, and everyone, including WWE, including CM Punk, agrees.
He’s good in the ring, he’s great on the microphone and he deserves everything he’s gotten. I guess maybe I’m just not supposed to like it.
Best: Miz On Offense
In a less existential opinion, how good as f**king Mike Mizanin gotten in the ring? I ragged on him for the longest time for looking like a guy pretending to be a pro wrestler instead of a pro wrestler, and I’m happy as hell that he’s rubbing that in my face. Whatever he’s figured out is working, because he’s starting to move like a wrestler. The corner clothesline looked like it killed Punk, and I’m sure part of that has to do with Miz wrestling a guy like Punk instead of a guy like Cena, but it’s the first time I’ve noticed it. He’s hitting hard, he’s getting hit hard, and he never looks like he’s ready to slow down. That’s good. Even the hilariously extraneous taunting he does looks like something a pissed off showboat would do. I want to cheer for the Miz, and for the first time ever it’s not because he’s funny and from Cleveland.
Miz needs more people than Punk and Cena to work with, and the obvious upswing in skill of guys like him and Dolph Ziggler are the brightest and most important reason to expand your roster a little and work in some guys who know what they’re doing outside of your system and style. It’ll help everybody. Miz needs to be having matches with Daniel Bryan NOW, not last year.
I feel like this match would’ve really been something if they hadn’t decided to Game it up in the middle.
Worst: Hey Guys, Get It, Immigration
I want to give WWE a very subtle “best” for their depiction of Mexican culture on Raw. That’s the lamest best of all time and I’m only giving it because they went with “Mexican flag, traditional dresses, mariachi bands, immigration joke” instead of parading Santino out backwards on a riding lawnmower and having him add Os to the end of words and vomit tacos while Vince danced in circles to La Cucaracha with his junk out and pissed on a NAFTA plaque.
That being said, John Laurinaitis interrupting a CM Punk vs. The Miz match to escort Triple H out of the building due to an immigration paperwork issue would’ve been the worst thing ever had we not just spent too weeks making googly-dick at Occupy Wall Street. It wasn’t a big deal, mostly because it was just Johnny Ace making up an excuse to get Our Man H out of the building, but it was still worth Worsting, because
1) It interrupted a wrestling match, which is annoying
2) It continued the trend of “our good guys are tough, our bad guys are sissy girl liars”
3) It made the television portion of the program about backstage power struggles again, and Jesus, after last week I don’t care if there’s a third Hebner Twin or that Jack Tunney is raiding my independently-contracted 401K plans to buy a yacht, I just want to watch the wrestling and forget how much you do this.
4) More specifically, it made a match between two talented wrestlers into a thing about how tough but betrayed Plainclothes Triple H is
5) Triple H made sure to beat everyone up and punch R-Truth on the way out, should he be made to look vulnerable for a moment
6) Mexico, the joke
Again, not a big deal, but a tiny, less offensive version of the thing I’ve been complaining about for two months. After the post-Money In The Bank epic fall, I need more than baby steps in the right direction. Either that, or I need someone to raise the Labyrinth and just destroy everything.
Worst: If You Really Wanted To Tribute Macho Man You’d Stop Doing That Terrible Elbow
How has Punk been wrestling since 1999 without knowing where to land when he jumps off the rope? He’s not dropping an elbow on people, he’s just jumping on them with his arm out. I miss Randy Savage too, man, but Savage had that sh*t on lockdown. Savage bent that arm no matter how deep in we were and no matter where the guy was lying and crushed his f**king ribcage. You’re crushing ribcages too, but not in a good way. I can’t call out Eve for her obtuse moonsault and not point out your sh*tty lack of depth perception.
Best: Vickie Guerrero’s Dress, And The Best Promo Of Dolph Ziggler’s Life
In a show without Chickbusters, a legitimate Mark Henry wig-splitting or one of those segments where a bunch of people who are never on TV stand around in the background, Vickie Guerrero’s bad-ass folklórico dress might’ve been my favorite part of the show. She looked so good. Pointing out that she’s lucha royalty without exactly explaining why was funny, although as a fan of Raquel Diaz I can’t get behind her saying she doesn’t have brats.
Disappointingly, the WWE Fan Nation video star-wipes from Vickie’s speech to Zack Ryder’s entrance and glosses over what might’ve been the best minute of public speaking in Dolph Ziggler’s life. He got fans to boo and give thumbs down to the United States of America (while wearing John Cena shirts, which is funny, because he is the most American human being since f**king Patton) and even worked in one of my favorite things, a knock on Titus O’Neil. More people need to say “Titus O’Neil will never make it” on WWE television, and not because I’m a Derrick Bateman fan, but because O’Neil is so bad he made PERCY WATSON a boring. Percy Watson, the guy doing a Norbit gimmick in pro wrestling in 2011, he made PERCY WATSON BORING. Do you know how hard that is?
Anyway, then Raw got cool because I got to see ZACK RYDER (© Punchsport Pagoda), who I’m sure used his popularity and natural wrestling talent to fill out the quarter with an engaging pro wrestling match.
Worst: Wait, What
I don’t know if you’re trying to build up the Ruff Ryder as the new Diamond Cutter or what, but as phony as a lot of great signature wrestling moves look, it is shoot a jumping crotch to the mouth, and unless he follows it up with a Danshoku Nightmare I’m not buying it as a critical finish.
Best: Dolph Ziggler Is Shawn Michaels To Mason Ryan’s Hogan
One of my favorite matches (in the way one might enjoy Gallagher’s “Stuck In The 60s”) is Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels from SummerSlam 2005. If you haven’t seen it, click that link. Shawn said everything about Hogan we’d be thinking with his body, flopping around and backflipping for punches and back rakes. At one point he sells a big boot by standing up, running around in a circle and diving head-first into the ground. It’s glorious, if not the most overtly-dickish thing ever performed in a WWE ring.
Ziggler was doing his best to take Shawn’s style and make it constructive with Mason Ryan, who excels in his ability to lift but fails in his ability to do anything else, such as running, punching, moving or talking. Seriously, this was the first time Ryan’s talked in … ever, and I know he’s Welsh, but when he speaks in shouted sentence fragments with that scrunched up face of his he sounds like Chris Burke from “Life Goes On”. It’s like Roderick Strong’s body has started to contort and transmute inert matter into flesh and made him tear a hole in the surface of the moon. He’s just this enormous f**king Steinbeckian simpleton who wants to pick you up and pet you until you die. He’s gonna win the United States title and live off the fatta’ the lan’!
Worst: Mason Ryan Is … Not Great, Is He
I love that he was too stupid to realize he was being disqualified, though. Charles Robinson is all “THE MATCH IS OVER” and Ryan just stares at him for a minute, mouth agape, before deciding NO, MORE POWERSLAMS.